Senate

Dem senator: I’ll ‘beat the hell out of you’ for burning flag

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) lashed out at flag burning on Tuesday after President-elect Donald Trump raised the issue.

“It’s a First Amendment right, but you do it in front of me, I’m going to beat the hell out of you,” Manchin said, according to a Roll Call reporter.

{mosads}Manchin is up for reelection during the 2018 cycle in a state that Trump won by more than 40 points. His comment came after Trump floated legal consequences for those who burn the American flag, which the Supreme Court ruled is protected as free speech.

“Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or jail,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.

Trump did not say what inspired his tweet. The Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. Johnson in 1989 that the First Amendment allows flag burning. A spokesman for Trump doubled down later Tuesday, arguing that the practice should be outlawed.

“I think most Americans would agree with me that flag burning should be illegal,” Jason Miller told CNN’s “New Day.” “It’s completely despicable.”

Some Republicans have pushed back against Trump’s position. 

“We have a First Amendment right,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We’ll protect our First Amendment. That’s what the court has upheld.

“I don’t see why anybody would want to burn an American flag,” added McCarthy, who backed Trump’s presidential bid. “It’s the greatest symbol of freedom.

“[America is] a country that was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. I don’t see why someone would want to burn [its flag].”

Republican Reps. Sean Duffy (Wis.) and Justin Amash (Mich.) also said Tuesday they believe flag burning is protected speech even though they dislike the practice.

Tags Congress Democrats Donald Trump flag burning Joe Manchin Justin Amash Sean Duffy Senate
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